High School Basketball

Kentucky coach headed to college ranks after back-to-back state championships

Chris Souder had a 490-214 record in 19 seasons at Mercer County, the last two ending with state championships
Chris Souder had a 490-214 record in 19 seasons at Mercer County, the last two ending with state championships

Chris Souder, who for the last 19 seasons led the Mercer County girls' basketball program, announced his resignation from the job on Monday.

Souder, who notified the Herald-Leader and other media outlets via a text message, informed his team that he would be accepting an assistant coaching position with the women's basketball program at Indiana State University.

"I will not be returning to the sidelines (at Mercer County) next season to pursue an opportunity I just can't pass up," Souder wrote in his message. " ... Thanks for all the coverage you have given Mercer County over the years. This is def(initely) bittersweet for me!"

Souder was 490-214 in 19 seasons at Mercer County, the last two ending with state championships, the first in the program's history. He coached this year's Miss Basketball winner, University of Louisville signee Seygan Robins, along with multiple other Division I athletes in his time with the school.

Souder, a Harrodsburg High School alumnus, went 30-53 as the Danville High School's girls' coach before taking over at Mercer County beginning with the 1999-2000 season. He is 11th all-time on the career wins list with 520, which was fourth among active coaches behind Randy Napier (Perry Central), Jeff Haile (Henderson County) and Donna Moir (Sacred Heart).

The Titans rose to national prominence over the past two seasons, in which they combined to go 64-9 and lost only twice to in-state opponents (one in each season). They finished No. 22 in this year's final USA Today Super 25 rankings.

Mercer County in March won its second state title with a 74-34 victory over Mercy Academy. That matched the largest margin of victory in a state championship game and was the largest in the modern era of KHSAA girls' basketball (1975 onward).

The Titans won their first title with a wire-to-wire victory over Franklin County in 2017. Robins was named MVP of both state tournaments.

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